Pot church case tied up in court

More than a year ago I wrote an article, “Pot Church Takes a Hit,” about Safford-area residents Dan and Mary Quaintance, who are facing federal criminal charges for possessing and conspiring to distribute marijuana.

Until their arrest, the couple, both in their 50s, had smoked or eaten cannabis every day of their 33-year marriage.

The faith and values hook here?

They worship pot. And they are serious about it.

The couple founded their Church of Cognizance in 1991 and call marijuana the “averter of death.” They refer to the plant as their deity.

Right now their case is in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and Dan thinks it will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A lower court judge last Christmas ruled that the couple’s church is not a sincere religion.

The couple, who say that they are suffering while living without marijuana, was offended by the ruling and are questioning how a court can determine what does and doesn’t constitute a religion.

Indeed, there is no legal definition of religion in the United States, but courts may apply a sincerity test.

“It’s very tough,” Dan said this morning.

“Basically the court is saying they have a right over our lives and it just doesn’t seem right. It seems the Drug Enforcement Administration is the most powerful institution in America — it must be if they can supress religious freedom.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday December 7, 2007.
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